My new shiny red KA mixer was gently purring like a kitten as it mixed my wonderful dough when I discovered - oops, completely out of almond flavoring. Since I was baking in old clothes and no makeup, hair tied back in a ponytail reminiscent of those kindergarten years, there was no way I was headed to the store for almond extract. Not to panic, though, I decided to just use vanilla and hope for the best. I did sprinkle some cinnamon on half of them right before putting into the oven to give them an extra kick in case the vanilla was not enough. Even though biscotti were traditionally almond flavored, I think the sky is the limit on what flavors and ingredients can be used. My next batch might just house some dried fruit. And yes, there will definitely be a next time for these delicious, coffee dipping cookies.
I did not stand my biscotti on end for the second bake like band marchers, but rather on their sides like sleeping soldiers -- it worked just great. But to be totally honest and objective, they are probably not the prettiest biscotti you have ever seen, nor is their shape perfect, nor do they have rounded top edges and squared off bottoms, but as my first attempt I have to say I am delighted with the finished product. The only problem was I'm quite sure I could have devoured the entire batch, having managed to eat at least eight of them today already. I must maintain control and keep that hand of mine out of the cookie jar! I admit it - I'm a food junkie. If something tastes really good to me, I eat it and eat it until I am sick of it. I do the same thing with cds. I play them over and over until I can no longer stand to hear them. Then I move on. Like Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats." I can recite every single word of that song, and no, I'm not proud. I've moved on this week to Sara Barielles "I'm not gonna write you a love song 'cause you asked for it 'cause you need one" and I'm quite sure I will know all those words before I move on again. Do I need therapy???
And now, a little history lesson. I know that in Italy the term biscotti refers to any type of cookie. But here in the South, we use the term to describe the tasteful, long, dry, hard, twice-baked cookie that is dipped in something. In Italy, you might dip them in a glass of wine, but in the South, usually coffee is the choice. Though I might dip them in my wine the next time I have a glass. I love to dip bread in wine, so it makes good sense to me to dip my biscotti also. I know you were just all dying to hear that juicy tidbit.
I found this fun fact on the internet: Columbus was one of the first to use biscotti as a ration on board his sailing vessels. Because of their long storage ability, they were an ideal food for sailors, soldiers, and fisherman. This weekend started the dreaded remodeling of the kitchen. My entire house is a wreck. So. . . much of my challenge this week was trying to work in a cluttered area with hubster on his hands and knees re-tiling our floor. I had to literally step over him every time I went from the sink to the stove! For those of you who know what a perfectionist I am, you know I will probably go nuts from the disorder of the construction zone! I have furniture in places I never knew I could put furniture. I'm trying my best to adapt. My kitchen table is in the corner of my living room. We are sort of liking that. You know how excited you get when you go to a crowded restaurant and it just so happens the hostess sits you in a quiet corner and inside you are silently yelling YES, thank you! The hubster is now calling it our eat-in living room. This morning for breakfast he said, "Shall we dine outside on the patio or in the eat-in living room?" Yep, he keeps me laughing.
Check back in a week or two - I might be having a "give-away." I love surprises, don't you? :)